Are Native ads Clickbait?

Are Native Ads Clickbait?

We’ve all come across trashy articles with clickbait titles. How their scammy-ness can make big money for businesses and when it’s better to stay away from them, find out here.

Generate high-quality sales with low native advertising costs

We all know native ads that use clickbait. From “this is how you lose 10 pounds in 3 days” to “celebrities before and after botox”. Clickbait ads still exist in 2022 – and will continue to do so even in the years ahead. What’s interesting: when clickbait ads are used in the right way, they can generate massive amounts of profit. 

It’s essential for online businesses to know when to use clickbait and when not – to make the most out of their budget and spare native advertising costs.

Sample Native Ads with Outbrain
Native Ads on a News Page

Clickbait ads are arbitrage content

It’s important to know that most of these ads are arbitrage content. What is arbitrage content? Arbitrage content is a way to spread native advertising costs and buy traffic. For example, a company buys clicks from a native traffic source, such as Taboola or Outbrain – in order to bring cheap traffic onto their website. On their website, they will have implemented online services such as Google AdSense. 

Here’s where the money-making aspect comes into play: Google will pay online businesses for showing their discovery ads on their web page. However, in order to make profit, you need to consider this: There needs to be less money spent on traffic than received for impressions. So many Native Ads are Clickbait – Yes.

Arbitrage Page with Google Ad Sense
Arbitrage Page with Google Ad Sense

How does it work exactly?

Businesses buy traffic from any native traffic source like Taboola or Outbrain. Because of their clickbait-titles, the Cost-per-Mile (CPM) is extremely cheap. So, they’re buying a lot of cheap traffic, which is bluntly put: trash. 

But that doesn’t matter since the end goal isn’t converting the traffic into sales or leads, for example. The only thing that matters is that people are on the site. Since for every impression on the page, Google will pay money to the business. If successful, the earned amount is higher than the native advertising costs invested upfront.
It’s the ultimate win-win situation. All affiliates get something from the arrangement, as does the company running the affiliate program, making it a mutually beneficial relationship.” ClickFunnels’ Co-Founder Russel Brunson on how to set up an affiliate marketing program via

Why clickbait ads won’t help you to generate leads

The rule of thumb by Marcel Sattler, leading native advertising expert: “It doesn’t make sense for e-commerce businesses to use clickbait if they want to generate high-quality sales.”

Clickbait should be used carefully in advertising – some marketers have made the mistake of thinking clickbait can be used to gain leads or sales. That’s a misconception.

There are two issues with clickbait ads:

Clickbait ads won’t bring you sales: Upon using cheap traffic, the CPC (Cost-per-Click) is way lower. Nonetheless, quite literally, these clicks are worth less –  and they normally don’t convert any leads or sales. What happens is: You’ll have massive numbers of clicks on your site yet no one is buying your product or service. On the surface, things look great: You’re having thousands of people liking your page. However, due to the traffic being cheap, you won’t be making sales.

You’re unattractive for native ad platforms: With cheap traffic, Taboola or Outbrain will give you a low-quality tag. Quality tags serve publishers to choose their ads. Is your quality tag, for instance just medium, that’s a bad sign. You run the risk that publishers won’t show your ads, since you’re not high-quality enough for their page. What might happen is that you’ll appear at a few unpopular publishers who won’t drive valuable traffic to your site.

Medium is a bad Safety Rating on Taboola
Medium is a bad Safety Rating on Taboola

What makes sense instead of clickbait?

How non-clickbait ads can generate leads for your business

If you run a successful e-commerce business, your goal might not be financial profit. Maybe the goal is to increase your leads or your product sales without increasing your native advertising costs. 

Here, it makes sense to run specific ads. They can be attention-grabbers, but shouldn’t include clickbait. When using specific ads, you will want to specify the audience already in the title or introduction. For example, you can use headlines that are immediately speaking to the targeted audience, such as: Every American between 35 and 55, keep attention: this might be relevant to you

Avoid promises in your statements or promoting products too heavily. Keep away from phrases like “genius product”, “works fast”, or “this is a must-have”. There are many resources – articles, videos or blog posts – for writing a good advertorial without the use of clickbait. Turning to them will make it easier for you to stay in the green zone at Taboola & Co.

For writing your advertorial, you need to know your target audience well, in order for your campaign to work. Karsten Krämer, Managing Director at C3 summarizes it:

The core [to good native advertising] is a clear understanding of the target group’s interests. If you know these, it is much easier to define the right content, the channels, the formats you need for a successful campaign.”

Different Funnels for Native Advertising
Different Funnels for Native Advertising

The choice of clickbait or non-clickbait is depending on your end goal

There are two different approaches for native ads, depending on what your goal is. They’re categorized into broad and specific funnels. First involve low CPC, CTR (Click-through-rate) and CVR (Conversion-rate) whereas the second includes a high CPC, CTR, and CVR. If you have a Native Ads Clickbait Approach, it might be difficult for you to make profitable sales for your e-Commerce store or generate high-quality leads.

A Click-through-rate can be explained as the number of clicks that the ad receives, in relation to the times that the ad is displayed. The conversion-rate, on the other hand, is how many people actually follow through each step of the advertising process. 

In a nutshell: Are Native Ads Clickbait? Yes, sometimes. If you have a specific offer, cheap traffic won’t get you there. The cheapest clicks even when high in number are not useful for you if they are not converting anything. So, for that, you should run the specific funnel – with a specific audience and specific targeting. Implemented in your headlines, pictures, etc. will lead to higher CPC’s as well as a higher CVR.

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